Letters to Psoriasis Fighters #3: Thank You for Your Love

Hey guys, it’s me, Rocyie again. Today I want to talk about something really important – the relationships that we have with our loved ones.

To put things into perspective, there are around 125 million of us affected with this skin condition called psoriasis, young and old alike. Many of us may not realize, upon diagnosis, our family is actually the first line of help and support for us, and so is our community. Hence, it is important for us to understand that the battle against psoriasis should ideally involve the whole community.

With the right support, patients are more likely to be able to accept their new reality and understand that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a skin condition. We can choose to deal with it at our own pace, emotionally and physically.

There are many changes that we have to face once we are diagnosed with psoriasis – the cost of treatment, the time spent for therapies, the clothes that we wear, the food that we eat, the way we think, feel, act etc. As humans, it is never easy to deal with changes, as we are creatures of habits. Amidst all these changes, it’s not only us that find it hard to adapt to it. Our loved ones are also facing similar challenges in getting used to this drastic change in their lives.

Change make us anxious, nervous, fearful, and helpless, even more so when we are dealing with psoriasis cluelessly. But let’s not forget that our loved ones are also experiencing these same emotions, and they are equally invested in our healing journey, doing everything they can to support and assist us. During this transitional time which can be rather difficult to maneuver, we might even face more conflicts that were caused by it, and it can be overwhelming to cope with.

This is the reason why it’s hard to express love in the midst of all the messy emotions that we may be facing internally

When we are facing with conflicts in our relationship, I personally think that they can make us stronger if we are able to work through them, conflicts may not necessarily be a bad thing. However, I also think it’s very important to approach this ‘skillfully’, to avoid anyone from getting hurt. Hence, during the most recent #BePsoPositive Safe Space session, I shared some simple tips in hopes that they will be able to be of help to the participants, and to you who are currently reading this.

1. It’s always a good idea to be honest and vulnerable

I guess we can all agree that one of the toughest things to do is to confess that we are in pain to our loved ones. We try so hard putting up with a front and creating an impression that we have it all together, just so that we do not look weak and end up being a burden. But if we put ourselves in their shoes, we could appear to be rejecting them and perhaps trying to distance ourselves from them, and it might unintentionally hurt them. So next time, instead of seeing it as a weakness, perhaps it would be better to let them help us. Here’s a simple way to express pain:

When we are expressing pain, it is suggested that we avoid the “You Should” approach. Instead, try expressing your pain honestly with constructive feedback.

2. The power of empathy

Trying to understand the conflict from their point of view, helps us see a seemingly indifferent reaction to the difficulties that we are facing, does not automatically mean that they do not care about us. Instead, it may reflect their worries or fears that they have about our condition. It is essentially a reaction that stems from love and concern for us. Understanding this really makes it easier to not take things so personally.

3. Always remember to acknowledge

We almost always take the love given by our loved ones for granted. This is especially true in our Southeast Asian culture, as we tend not to show our affections. I am pretty sure that our relationships will transform for the better if we start showing appreciation to our loved ones. The simplest form of loving gestures from our loved ones, like encouragements, thoughtfulness, consideration, and polite gestures, are things that will keep us safe and strong. Sometimes a simple hug can replace a thousand words. This is why we should also repay the love given to us, by showing our appreciation.

Learning how to manage relationships around us, on top of dealing with a chronic skin condition, is always going to be a lifelong learning journey. I hope that we learn to have fun along the way and rejoice in the small new beginning that we have in our relationships. Ultimately, one of the most important aspects in our lives that makes it fulfilling, is the relationship we have with people we truly love and care about. It also makes up the most important component and support in our psoriasis healing journey as well. All my love to you, my skin mates, don’t ever give up!

By Rocyie Wong

Photography by Michelle Chua